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The long-anticipated 2017 Abarth 500X sports SUV has been spied out and about this week, ahead of a debut that could occur later this year.

Talk of an Abarth version of the new Fiat 500X surfaced in 2014, when Fiat designer Roberto Giolito hinted that the small SUV would be a perfect platform for the scorpion brand’s sports tuning program.

The 500X is a good body for Abarth,” Giolito told CarAdvice. “I can say today this is a good item. It’s absolutely perfect in terms of drivability, control. The driving seat is perfectly measured to control the car. So the Abarth would be perfect.”

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The prototype spied this week offers a first clear look at those plans, riding on a set of lightweight Alfa Romeo wheels that hide a set of large sports brake discs and calipers.

Twin pipes feature at the rear, and CarAdvice’s spy photography connections tell us that a “quite aggressive” exhaust note was offered as the SUV pulled away.

Abarth-specific styling has yet to be spied, however, with this prototype instead caught wearing the top-shelf Cross Plus model’s styling kit.

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An Abarth-tuned version of the new Fiat 124 Spider has also been spied testing in recent weeks, and it is expected that both will be driven by 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing close to 130kW in regular form and closer to 160kW for up-spec Essesse models.

Fiat and Abarth, for their parts, have yet to confirm plans for either model.

Watch this space.

MORE: Fiat 500X news, reviews, pricing and specs




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